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Labour to consider benefit cuts for wealthy pensioners


Labour is considering a pledge to cut universal benefits such as the winter fuel allowance for wealthier pensioners.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4 today, Labour leader Ed Miliband said the party is considering whether to means-test pensioner benefits as part of its policy review.

All pensioners receive winter fuel allowance payments, free bus passes, a £10 Christmas “bonus” and free TV licences irrespective of how much they earn.

When asked whether he would make changes to pensioner benefits, Miliband told the BBC: “Of course in our policy review we will look at all these issues, of course it needs to be looked at.

“Actually independent evidence says it [the fuel allowance] has been a quite effective benefit to tackle the issue of fuel poverty. A lot of it is spent actually on the purpose it is intended for, fuel and keeping people warm.

“We are supporters of the winter fuel allowance, we think it s an important benefit, we think it has actually made a big difference but of course we look at all these issues.”

The Liberal Democrats support means testing pensioner benefits. The Conservatives have pledged to protect universal benefits for pensioners until 2015, but it was suggested earlier this year the work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith was looking at stopping winter fuel payments.

It was reported yesterday that Duncan Smith wanted wealthier pensioners to give back benefits such as the winter fuel allowance.


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There are 3 comments at the moment, we would love to hear your opinion too.

  1. Yet Labour have opposed every Govt move to cut the thousands of pounds in benefits given to fit, healthy, working adults.

    They have opposed restricting housing benefits to £500 per week yet Labour seem happy to take away pensioners bus passes.

    Labour support unrestricted benefits as long as you are not a pensioner.

    Once again Ed you have missed the target.

  2. I have always maintained that for the better off taxation is actually compulsory charity. Just consider what exactly the better off (who pay by far the greater proportion of tax revenues) actually get in return.
    Precious little. Private school for the kids – thereby reducing (even if slightly) the pressure on the education system. Private Healthcare – reducing the strain on the NHS. Paying more Road tax and fuel duty as the probably have bigger cars and most likely have two anyway. Paying more council tax. So they get the armed services – without a personal sentry box. So that the Government can send our lads to places we don’t give a toss about. So what do the better off get? A State Pension eventually – which of course is taxed – and for them probably at higher rate.

    So they get £100 per year each for fuel. Call it a donation to a few drinks at Christmas. A bus pass which they use occasionally if they don’t take the car and once they get to be over £75 they actually get a free TV Licence – and they probably don’t watch much BBC anyway.
    Viewed from this point of view don’t you think that these people at least deserve a little in return. Being better off usually means they have contributed more to the GDP anyway and they get scant thanks for any of their input. Indeed they are largely pilloried for having the temerity to have made something of themselves. Well I guess that must be socialism.

  3. The ‘better off’ have gained the most out of having a civilised society, so should contribute the ‘most’ (not neccesarily a higher proportion of their income) to keep a cvilised society.

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